It was the battle of the best team in the world vs. the best player.
That’s how I would sum up the recently concluded NBA finals.
On one corner was Lebron James. A two-time NBA Champion, four-time MVP and the first player since Bill Russell (1960 era) to appear in the NBA finals for 5 straight times. With all-stars Kyrie Irving and Kevin Love injured, he had to carry the weight of his whole team on his shoulders.
On the other side was the Golden State Warriors. They hold the NBA’s best record at 67 wins and 15 losses. Only ten teams in the history of the NBA were able to do that. Also, they were placed in the very competitive Western Conference. The top seven teams in that bracket had at least 50 wins which means any of them were capable of winning an NBA championship. In spite of the odds, they were still able to breeze through that conference with ease.
That was the story line. The best player in the world going against the best team. Can this legend, future hall of famer and possibly one of the top ten players in NBA history single handedly defeat the strongest team in the NBA right now?
One of the reasons I’m writing this is because I think that this recently concluded NBA finals is a great illustration on teamwork. I wrote this down personally so that 1) I’ll not forget about its value and 2) I’ll keep on pounding its importance and benefits to my head.
I was reminded of this quote from author and leadership expert John Maxwell:
“…one is too small a number to achieve greatness. You cannot do anything of real value alone.
I challenge you to think of one act of genuine significance in the history of humankind that was performed by a lone human being. No matter what you name, you will find that a team of people was involved. That is why former US President Lyndon Johnson said, “There are no problems we cannot solve together, and very few that we can solve by ourselves.”
LEADERS LEAD A TEAM
I think I read John Maxwell’s quote from one his leadership books. I am reminded that Leadership is not about being a great individual contributor but about making your team great.
For Lebron James, his numbers were historic. He was the first player to to average more than 35 points, 10 rebounds and 5 assists per game. (35.8 ppg, 13.3 rpg, and 8.8 apg to be exact).
However, as historic as his finals performance were, it’s clear that one man can’t do it alone. There’s just too many bases to cover on the basketball court. Basketball still is a 5 on 5 sport the last time I checked. The only way he could have won that series is if he could have been in two places at the same time. I saw many times in the game where he got frustrated because the defense of the Cleveland Cavaliers just wasn’t good enough to stop Golden State. Lebron James can’t be everywhere. A leader has limitations no matter how good he is.
MY PERSONAL EXPERIENCES IN HANDLING A TEAM
I am currently heading operations in my vocation and the organization I’m working for. Under me are two people whom I lead. One is a facilities officer and the other a communications guy. For each person, they have their work cut out for them. I can’t imagine myself doing all the tasks they are currently doing on top of my responsibilities. I’ll die early if I even try. :))
We all have limitations. Nothing beats the value a team brings.
I remember a time when I was heading an event in our campus ministry last 2010. It was a small event for around 30-40 people. I lead the initiative and at that time I thought that I had to do everything myself. I had a wrong mindset before about asking for help. The reason I didn’t ask for help is because: 1) I thought that I can do everything myself and 2) I didn’t want to be a burden to anybody. Those mindsets led me to organize everything (well almost) from the powerpoint, logistics, food, program flow, being the emcee etc. By God’s grace, since it was just a small event, it was successful. However, I learned a little bit later that if I continue to go on that pace… I’ll burnout sooner or later and will limit what I can do as compared to working with a team.
A couple of months later, as I lead another event, that time around I had a team with me. It was a world of a difference knowing that you have a team with you helping out in making sure the event becomes successful. That time around we were organizing an event for 80+ people. If I went on w/ my current pace last 2010 the event would have been a disaster. Not only would the event be a disaster, but I would have also prevented opportunities for other people to grow by serving.
Fast forward a few years later, my job responsibility has now shifted. We now have students who lead the events I led before. With my current workload I just know that I will not be able to be hands on with these things anymore. Seasons do change. However, I’m glad that there are people who rise up to lead those projects. I cannot do everything alone, we need other people, we need a team.I have nothing against Lebron James, in fact I rooted for him the entire series. I think the series would have been different had Kyrie Irving and Kevin Love played. Yesterday was just proof than no individual can accomplish great things apart from the help of other people. Sometimes we forget that behind every great leader who has ever stepped up and made a difference in this world whether that’s in the government, economics, sports, etc. there was a team that helped them succeed. Without a team behind these great men and women, I doubt, just like what John Maxwell said, if they would have achieve anything significant in this lifetime.
Congratulations to the Golden State Warriors. As I watched them win the last three games, I thought to myself that this is what great teamwork looks like.
Value People! Value Teamwork!